There’s some new faces at Ravenwood High School. The Grimes family has become Raptors.
Reggie Grimes accepted a defensive coordinator position at the Williamson County school for a Raptor football team that fell in the Class 6A State Semifinals last season. Grimes worked on the staff at Mt. Juliet last season for the Golden Bears, who reached the state quarterfinals.
Grimes' son, Reggie Grimes II, will also make the transition. The younger Grimes is the top football recruit in Tennessee and a three-sport standout who helped the 4x100 relay team finish third just last week during Spring Fling.
“We are certainly looking forward to this opportunity,” the elder Grimes said of joining the Raptors program. “There’s a great group coming back here and they made it deep into the playoffs last year. Hopefully, we can help them make it over the hump.”
Grimes, who prepped at Hunters Lane before starring at Alabama and playing in the NFL with the New England Patriots, said the move was a better financial situation for his family.
“It’s a new beginning for us,” he said.
His five-star recruit son is listed at 6-foot-4 1/2 and weighs 240 pounds and is the top recruit in the state of Tennessee per 247sports.com Last month, he announced his top 6 schools (in alphabetical order) were Alabama, Florida State, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Grimes II made 48 tackles with three for loss, had 11 quarterback hurries and a sack last year for the Golden Bears, who fell 14-7 to Oakland in the quarterfinals. Grimes II also ran for 48 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
Ravenwood coach Matt Daniels said he loved the versatility of Grimes II, which fits into some schemes that helped the Raptors push deep into the playoffs once again last season.
“He has that immense versatility on both sides of the ball,” Daniels said of the younger Grimes. “From being able to stand and contain to blitzing from the inside plus he can provide a change of pace different from anybody else we have had.
“We take pride on our versatility and being able to play multiple positions and not being one-dimensional. He’s kind of a bigger, stronger, faster version of all that.”
Grimes II will play with a Raptor team loaded with returnees, including Region 6-6A Defensive Player of the Year Bryan Rice. Rice was named to the 2018 All-State Team by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association along with returning teammates Brian Garcia and Graham Barton. Garcia set school records for passing yards and touchdowns last season, while the offensive lineman Barton just signed with Duke.
"We are putting together a staff to help lead this group, and obviously, we have the kids to make a special season," Daniels said. He added that the hire is a win-win on the field and for his staff.
“From a coaching standpoint, we are replacing NFL experience with NFL experience, and they will still get to work together Friday nights,” Daniels said of Grimes taking over Ryan Fowler’s defensive coordinator position. Daniels said Fowler, a former Tennessee Titan, will remain on staff with the Raptors, but only be available part time to assist.
Ravenwood finished the season 10-3 last year, falling 45-24 at Whitehaven in the semifinals. The team was somewhat a surprise last season. They up-ended previously unbeaten Cane Ridge in the second round and advanced further than many anticipated.
Loaded with returnees and highly recruited standouts, the addition of Grimes II will only bring more expectations this season.
“On paper, a lot of teams have looked the part and been picked to be very successful,” Daniels said. “Our team has been on the other side of that coin the last two seasons really and we exceeded expectations. Now we have the opportunity to produce a special season but have to ignore the praise and high expectations.
“We have some goals we want to meet, but we are going to have fun and do the same stuff we have been doing to try and reach them and just play Raptor fast football.”
The elder Grimes said the move is a huge opportunity for his family, including wife Mikaela-Perry Grimes and current freshman Reghan. The youngest of three kids, Reghan, is also a three-sport standout who helped the Lady Golden Bears basketball team reach the state tournament and just placed fifth in the state in the discus.
“It’s been a whirlwind, but we’re excited,” Grimes said. “We are looking forward to getting to work.
"I’m looking forward to see how we stack up against these perennial powerhouses in Williamson County.”